The final home game at Texas Stadium ended in typical fashion if you are a Washington Redskins fan. After making their hogs and hogettes sweat out another nail-biter. Victory was surrendered to the underdog. The stunned, southern fried crowd was left at a loss, that soon won't be forgotten. A total team effort, and zero turnovers was too much for the Dallas Cowboys to overcome, as a last minute on-sides kick from Nick Folk went out of bounds, and sent the 1st place juggernaut into 3rd place. Thus concluding to the media doubters, that the Redskins are every bit a threat to win the taught NFC East this year, rather than years down the road. And it started and ended with great timely defense.
7th round pick and new fan favorite, safety Chris Horton proved his starter status for Week 4, with a backbreaking interception of a Tony Romo pass with less than 8:00 minutes to play in the 4th quarter. Intended for Sharpie King Terrell Owens, Horton read Romo's body language, broke early on the ball, and before T.O. could react he had tiptoed the sideline, and jubilation ensued amongst the players, and coaches respectively. Joe "Buges" Bugel was captured by the cameras knocking Jim Zorn around, as if to say "Yeah Coach, we got this one." Gone is the vanilla, bend, but not break, defense of the Gregg Williams era.
Cornerback Carlos Rogers after the second half was matched up against Terrell Owens, and yet again he was frustrated, and pushed around. Rogers batted down two passes, that had been caught, would have moved the chains, and put the pressure right back on Washington's offense to answer the Cowboy's drive. That didn't happen, because Washington was constantly using different defenders, that effectively kept the big play-makers in check. Terrell did catch a TD to tie the game at 17 apiece, but after that he was a ghost. He finished the game with 59 yards.
And the biggest defensive smack-down laid upon the mighty Dallas Dominators had to be the lack of a consistent running game. This was said to be in pregame commentary one of Dallas' least worries. It was all talk about stopping Jason Witten and Terrell Owens. Jason Witten scored the 1st TD of the game, but both players never were allowed to get comfortable to pull away from the competition. Marion Barber was held to 44 yards total, and no TDs. Can you say boo-yah Stuart Scott?
Rocky McIntosh and London Fletcher were the muscled duo that they were brought in to be and then some. These two are strong and eat up running backs like they are paper mache. Its amazing really how the previous #1 offense couldn't move the ball on the ground with two backs like Barber and Felix Jones. (If he had a significant carry in this game, someone let me know) Edgerrin James might need to sit on the Cowboys practice this week, and give them some pointers on where to hit the holes against the Skins, when they meet for the second time at FEDEX field.
Leigh Torrance should be given credit as well for replacing Fred Smoot, as both he and Shawn Springs left early in the 3rd quarter with minor injuries. Springs hurt his calf, and Smoot suffered what looked like a stinger, as he went to tackle Patrick Crayton on a cross pattern. Smoot would return later to finish what he started, and like a broken record knocked down a pass destined for the soft hands of #81.
The depth of the Skins has shown to be integral to the 3-0 run they have generated. It's a testament to the improvement of Washington's team chemistry when a player of LaRon Landry's caliber is being sidestepped for the outstanding performances of afterthought draft picks. There's not one guy who teams can build their offense around , and stop the Skins from executing their game plan.
If one guy goes down, there's another to plug in, and do his job. Lorenzo Alexander, a versatile iron-man, who plays both on the offensive and defensive line, stepped up and helped Chris Samuels when he was having difficulty one on one pass blocking for Jason Campbell. He also spelled Demetric Evans, as Erasmus James was inactive due to his myriad knee problems. Greg Blache has answered his critics, and the Redskins are better for his willingness to choose talent over experience.
A memo was sent to teams contending they are not pretenders, that Jim Zorn can coach in this league, and win now. What better way to make his presence known then in the last and only game coached at Texas Stadium. All in all, it was the perfect ending in a historically pro-cowboy arena.